Nose Surgery for Nasal Cavity and Sinus Cancer

The nasal cavity allows for the passage of air to the throat. The paranasal sinuses are the hollow space areas lined with mucous membranes surrounding the nose. Both provide critical life functions. Nose cancer involving the nasal cavity and/or paranasal sinuses is rare but may occur, particularly in those over 45. The risk factors for this type of cancer are smoking, sun exposure and exposure to chemical hazards such as common occupational dust, glues, formaldehyde, solvents, mustard gas and radium. People who received radiation treatment for the retinoblastoma eye condition have been known to have an increased risk for nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses cancer as well. This form of cancer may involve other parts of the body.

The Symptoms

People with nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses cancer may not experience symptoms. Others may experience warning signs at an early or late stage, including:

  • Stuffy nose that does not clear
  • Nasal infections that do not resolve easily or repeat
  • Lump or sores
  • Sinus pain
  • Nasal pus drainage
  • Sense of smell loss
  • Numbness in the facial areas surrounding the nose
  • Teeth pain, loosening, or numbness
  • Eye swelling
  • Certain eye conditions

Nose Surgery

Often, an interdispilianry approach is the best for the treatment of nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses cancer. The medical specialists that may be involved in treatment may include, but are not necessarily limited to: an ear nose and throat surgeon, plastic and reconstructive surgeon, speech pathologist, and an oncologist dentist.

There are several options that may be utilized to treat nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses cancer. The open rhinoplasty approach may be selected by a surgeon. This involves incisions on the outside of the nose to remove the tumor, with special consideration for aesthetics. More recently, endoscopic nose surgery has been used with greater success when compared to the open approach. The endoscopic approach involves the use of an endoscope to visually guide the surgeon to the tumor with precision and accuracy. In some cases, radiotherapy by itself or in conjunction with chemotherapy may be used following nose surgery. In addition, neck dissection may be performed to remove affected lymph nodes when necessary. Finally, there are clinical trials involving newer methods which some people with nose cancer may qualify for.

Sources: www.clevelandclinic.org, www.mayoclinic.org

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